Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Trade facilitation

In December 2013, WTO members concluded negotiations on a Trade Facilitation Agreement at the Bali Ministerial Conference, as part of a wider “Bali Package”. Since then, WTO members have undertaken a legal review of the text. The resulting final text is available here. Under the decision adopted in Bali, WTO members must draft a Protocol of Amendment to insert the new Agreement into Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement. The Trade Facilitation Agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of members have completed their domestic ratification process.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for faster and more efficient customs procedures through effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It also contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

Negotiating an agreement on trade facilitation

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News  back to top


Introduction  back to top

Understanding the WTO: trade facilitation


Trade Facilitation Agreement  back to top

The Trade Facilitation Agreement forms part of the Bali Package agreed by members at the Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali on 3-7 December 2013. 

Bali Package, 7 December 2013: Trade Facilitation Agreement

The Agreement has two sections:

  • Section I contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods. It clarifies and improves the relevant articles (V, VIII and X) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.
  • Section II contains special and differential treatment provisions for developing and least-developed countries aimed at helping them implement the provisions of the agreement.

 >  Negotiating an agreement on trade facilitation

> Special and Differential Treatment for LDCs
> Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries
> The Relationship between the Trade Facilitation and the SPS Agreement


The mandate for negotiations  back to top

The mandate given in July 2004 by ministers was to clarify and improve GATT Article V (Freedom of Transit), Article VIII (Fees and Formalities connected with Importation and Exportation), and Article X (Publication and Administration of Trade Regulations).


Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, December 2005

The July 2004 package (WT/L/579):
The mandate for these negotiations is set out in Annex D of that decision (“Modalities for Negotiations on Trade Facilitation”).
Text of Annex D


Doha Ministerial Declaration, November 14, 2001, item 27


Singapore Ministerial Declaration December 13, 1996 (see item 22) (WT/MIN(96)/DEC)
Browse text

> Current Chairperson


Implementation-related reports and symposium materials


Technical assistance and capacity building  back to top


Documents on trade facilitation    back to top

Negotiation documents


Search Documents Online
Documents on Trade Facilitation bear the document code TN/TF/* for documents under the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation, G/C/W/* and G/L/* for documents under the Council for Trade in Goods (where * takes additional values).
These links open a new window: allow a moment for the results to appear.

help with downloading these documents

  • Reports by the Chairman to the Trade Negotiations Committee (Document code TN/TF/* or G/L/* and keyword “report and Trade Facilitation”)    > search
  • Minutes of the meetings of the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (searches for document code TN/TF/M/*)    > search
  • Working documents on Trade Facilitation (Document code TN/TF/W/* or G/C/W/* and keyword “Trade Facilitation”)
        > search
  • Working documents on Technical Assistance on Trade Facilitation (Document code TN/TF/W/* or G/C/W/* and keyword “Technical Assistance”)     > search
  • Self Assessment Guide — Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (searches for document code TN/TF/W/143/*)    > search
  • Draft Consolidated Negotiating Text — Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (searches for document code TN/TF/W/165/*)    > search

You can perform more sophisticated searches from the Documents Online search facility by defining multiple search criteria such as document symbol (i.e. code number), notification number, requirement subject, trade coverage, full text search or document date.


Trade facilitation pre-negotiation work in the WTO  back to top

2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999   1998


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Briefing note

WTO working paper


> Trade Facilitation Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements — Traits and Trends by Nora Neufeld

Supporting Implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement in the Post-Bali Context
Tuesday, June 10th 2014

Implementation-Related Reports and Symposium Materials

Practical Experience of Implementing Trade Facilitation Reforms, Including Their Costs and Benefits

Seoul Symposium on Trade Facilitation and the Doha Development Agenda (27-28 November 2012)

Trade Facilitation Conference for African Countries Nairobi, Kenya
Symposium (13-15 November 2012)
Agenda with presentations


Symposium (10-11 July 2012)

Agenda with presentations


Symposium (8-9 November 2011)

Agenda with presentations


Case studies and Reports on Trade Facilitation Implementation